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Course, academic year 2022/2023
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Introduction to Formal Linguistics - NPFL006
Title: Úvod do formální lingvistiky
Guaranteed by: Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics (32-UFAL)
Faculty: Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
Actual: from 2022
Semester: winter
E-Credits: 3
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:2/0, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: unlimited
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English, Czech
Teaching methods: full-time
Additional information:
Guarantor: Mgr. Magda Ševčíková, Ph.D.
Class: Informatika Mgr. - Matematická lingvistika
Classification: Informatics > Computer and Formal Linguistics
Annotation -
Last update: RNDr. Jiří Mírovský, Ph.D. (04.05.2022)
The course explains the principles of the formal description of natural languages and presents selected formal- linguistic approaches. The focus in on the description of sentence structure. After an introductory discussion of formalization of linguistic phenomena, the course compares selected dependency-based approaches (Functional Generative Description, Meaning-Text Theory, etc.) with generative approaches (e.g. Distributed Morphology) and other frameworks (Frame Semantics, Construction Grammar, etc.). Related treebanks and other data sources (FrameNet, etc.) are presented too.
Course completion requirements -
Last update: Mgr. Magda Ševčíková, Ph.D. (04.05.2022)

Course completion requirements:

1. Successful completion of 4 homework assignments

2. Attendance and participation in the class

3. Final exam: an in-class test at the end of the term

Literature -
Last update: Mgr. Magda Ševčíková, Ph.D. (04.05.2022)

Allan, K.: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Oxford University Press 2013.

Chomsky, N.: Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht 1981.

Chomsky, N.: Syntactic Structures. The Hague 1957.

Chomsky, N.: The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, Mass. 1995.

Fillmore, C. J.: The Case for Case. In Bach and Harms (eds.): Universals in Linguistic Theory. New York 1968, pp. 1–88.

Fillmore, C. J.: The Mechanisms of ‘Construction Grammar’. In Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society 14, 1988, pp. 35–55.

Hajič J., Hajičová E., Mikulová M., Mírovský J.: Prague Dependency Treebank. In N. Ide & J. Pustejovsky (eds.): Handbook of Linguistic Annotation. Dordrecht 2017, pp. 555–594.

Kahane, S.: The Meaning-Text Theory. In Dependency and Valency. An International Handbook of Contemporary Research. Vol. 1. Berlin 2003, pp. 546–570.

Luelsdorff, P. A. (ed.): The Prague School of Structural and Functional Linguistics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia 1994.

Matthews, P. H.: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford 2007.

Robins, R. H.: A short history of linguistics. Longman 1984.

Saussure, F. de: Course in General Linguistics. Transl. by R. Harris. London 1983.

Seuren, P.: Western Linguistics: An Historical Introduction. Wiley 1998.

Sgall, P., Hajičová, E., Panevová, J.: The Meaning of the Sentence in Its Semantic and Pragmatic Aspects. Dordrecht/Prague 1986.

Requirements to the exam -
Last update: Mgr. Magda Ševčíková, Ph.D. (04.05.2022)

Final exam: an in-class test at the end of the term covers topics addressed in the lectures.

Syllabus -
Last update: Mgr. Magda Ševčíková, Ph.D. (04.05.2022)

1. Formal description of natural languages – what are we up to?

2. Overview of frameworks to be discussed

Formalization of linguistic features - focus on syntax:

  • Syntactic trees, dependency vs. constituency
  • Form vs meaning of the sentence
  • Levels in the sentence description: surface-syntactic vs deep-syntactic representation
  • Relationships between surface and depth: synonymy, homonymy, deletions -
  • Verb as the core of the sentence structure; valency
  • Referencing within the sentence and beyond, coreference
  • Information structure of the sentence

3. Functional Generative Description

  • Multi-level approach to language
  • Valency: arguments vs. adjuncts, valency frame
  • Surface-syntactic and deep-syntactic trees, non-dependency relations

4. Paninian framework

  • Dependency-based approach
  • Karaka relations

5. Meaning-Text Theory

  • Levels of language system description
  • Meaning-to-text approach
  • Lexical functions: syntagmatic vs paradigmatic

6. Generative Linguistics – The Chomskyan approach

  • Language description in the generative perspective: competence vs performance, language faculty
  • Generation of sentences, transformations
  • Lexicalist Hypothesis, Government & Binding, Minimalism

7. Distributed Morphology

  • A unified approach to syntax and morphology
  • Vocabulary items, Encyclopedia, Late Insertion, Underspecification, etc.

8. Case Grammar & Frame Semantics (Charles Fillmore)

  • Case Grammar
  • Frame Semantics
  • FrameNet database

9. Construction Grammar

  • Construction as a form-meaning pairing
  • Types of constructions
  • Constructions as means for a full-fledged description of language

10. Some more approaches

  • Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR)
  • Universal Conceptual Cognitive Annotation (UCCA), etc.
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